Outdoor Adventures: Winter Park’s ‘flower girls’
Have you ever wondered how the flowers in Winter Park stay so beautiful?
According to Shawn Nohl, the crew leader of the Winter Park Flower Girls who plant and care for the downtown flowers all summer, “We love the flowers and enjoy taking care of them. They require a lot of love to stay so beautiful. We enjoy being outside and proud to have the most beautiful flowers.”
Shawn gives credit to her crew, “We have had an awesome crew this year. It’s hard work but they love it.” She also is thankful for all the wet weather during summer that helped keep the flowers blooming.
The crew starts cleaning flower beds mid-May to prepare for the flowers. They buy locally from Cold Springs Greenhouse in Granby. Due to the short growing season the plan is for the flowers to peak around the Fourth of July. The flower girls ride their bikes to all the beds and pick off dead heads; twice a week they water the flowers from the water truck.
Their goal: to make Winter Park beautiful all summer long for locals and visitors. And they do. Shawn says visitors really appreciate the flowers and will always compliment the flowers to the crew as they walk through town.
What is the most fun aspect of the job? “Watching the flowers grow from three inches to four feet” according to Shawn. “The flowers just make you feel good. This month we have been getting even more compliments, especially since all the beds are full and flowers are blooming.”
This is Shawn’s third year as crew leader, and she is proud of the work they do. “I have four seasonal girls, Kara Brown, a college student, Lauren Reed, a local, Amber Felts, first year on the crew, and Taryn Martin from Boston and a first year flower girl. “We work hard to make the town beautiful,” says Amber, “and the visitors appreciate it. I’m always told by visitors that our flowers are the most beautiful of all the mountain towns.”
Despite the seemingly fun aspects of riding bikes and maintaining the flowers, it’s not easy as it looks. “The beds require a lot of care.” Shawn says, “Our flowers need a lot of care; and we give that to them. That is why they look so good. Our crew enjoys being outside and take maintaining them. It’s why we have the best flowers.”
The flower crew will start removing flowers the third week of September. They will remove all annuals and cut back the perennials. The final step is covering the beds in preparation for winter.
Shawn says next year the town of Winter Park will be starting a weed program that she and the crew will be involved in: “We will be hitting the noxious weeds hard next year.”
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